[Manic Monday]: Engage Through Digital, Sell Through Digital And Physical

[Manic Monday]: Engage Through Digital, Sell Through Digital And Physical

[Manic Monday]: Engage Through Digital, Sell Through Digital And Physical
[Manic Monday]: Engage Through Digital, Sell Through Digital And Physical

The digital entertainment landscape in Indonesia has been shaping up pretty quickly the past year. E-commerce becoming more widespread, growth of smartphone penetration and app usage, and more ways to do transactions online. Social media has grown an industry on top of it, fuelled by brands and products who want to make sure they are talked about in the social networks where more and more people find information firsthand before looking at other media – also by a new generation of entrepreneurs, either by creating new products on top of the social networks, or by capitalising fame or notoriety of themselves or other people.

Yet the ‘digital renaissance’ hasn’t really arrived yet for entertainment services as it more or less has for similar products overseas – of the many international music services available elsewhere, only Nokia Music, Deezer and iTunes have opened up shop in Indonesia, and out of that three, perhaps Nokia is the only one with local presence and some activities to push the music service beyond simply putting up promo banners on their sites.

While Viki has some Indonesian movie content, unfortunately it does not represent the wealth of Indonesian movies throughout the years – and there are no other services that have this content. There is a local e-book store, Papataka, but I have not yet heard of any independent e-book stores; and of course for magazines and newspapers there are services like Scoop and Wayang Force.

This doesn’t stop musicians from using their social media channels to “buy our new album now on iTunes” with a link to the product, the same way they (or perhaps their music label) promoted ringbacktones or other downloadable stuff. This method harks back to they old days where they would advertise “buy X’s new album in record stores now!” on a radio spot.

The thing is, music, or any other entertainment product, physical or digital, is simply not bought with the same impulse as in the old days. Entertainment products are themselves tertiary products, somewhat non-essential things that people can live without (despite whatever a Justin Bieber fan will tell you). This fact alone should show that entertainment should not be a “hard sell”, especially not through social media channels.

While even established companies fret about gathering ‘likes’ and ‘followers’, a great way to leverage social media for entertainment products is to truly engage the fan. Social media enables bands and musicians to engage a large number of fans across the world simultaneously, instead of being limited to fan mail, radio phone-in interviews or even the occasional meet & greet session.

A social media channel should be used to create a ‘story’ for the fans to identify themselves with, and increase brand affinity. It really shouldn’t be for “hey buy my song here” because chances are people won’t even click on it, same goes for “activate the ringbacktone by typing …”.

If you employ social media channels to build relationships with your fans (or would-be fans), keep them updated on new work being done or being offered, there is a larger chance for the fan to invest money into not only digital products, but merchandise or even tickets for concerts. Instead of saying “hey get my new single on iTunes”, why not try “guys, I hear my new song’s already up on iTunes, but I can’t find it. Help!” Imagine the engagement that fans give to help you out, while at the same time pointing to the same sales channel.

Employing digital means to engage your fans does not always need to push towards a digital sale. If the relationship building is done right – suitable for your fan demographic, that is – the fan at some point will be willing to buy something from you, and it doesn’t need to be a digital product either.

Some people actually look for different, more engaging and tangible stuff. Example: Ernest Prakasa has skilfully raised awareness about his upcoming show through Twitter, and even used his Multiply store to sell the tickets – but the objective is clear: get people to the show. But you don’t see him tweeting all day about “get your tickets here”, but he tries to convince that if he’s entertaining enough for people through Twitter, then the show would be awesome. And for non-fans or non-followers, your timeline isn’t swamped by retweets of meaningless hard-sell tweets, to the point where it doesn’t even have meaning or relevance.

Social media is most often treated as a one-way broadcast channel, but it really shouldn’t be. If you can leverage social media as a true communications platform with your fans, then it’s time for you to build your customer relation management (CRM) strategy. But we’ll leave that for another post.

Ario is a co-founder of Ohd.io, an Indonesian music streaming service. He worked in the digital music industry in Indonesia from 2003 to 2010, and recently worked in the movie and TV industry in Vietnam. Keep up with him on Twitter at@barijoe or his blog at http://barijoe.wordpress.com.

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